Quality Data is Vital to Leveraging Esri’s ArcGIS Spatial Analytics

Written by Dave DiSera, Vice President of Professional Services, RAMTeCH

March  1, 2017

Utilities and telecommunication companies are turning to new data types and new forms of analysis to improve productivity. Spatial data, also referred to as location-based data, enables these organizations to add the context of time and location to traditional operations, business, and network systems data, so they can see changes over time and exactly where those changes are taking place. Recent advances in spatial analytics capabilities now allow you to discover and communicate meaningful spatial and linear patterns in your data. From finding the best location to making predictions, spatial analytics help you to optimize your business and operational decisions. Spatial analytics provides the ability to understand where things are, how they relate to each other, what the results reveal, and what actions need to be taken.

Leveraging Spatial Analytics and Esri’s ArcGIS 

From computational analysis of geographic patterns to finding optimum routes, managing network assets, and predictive modeling, spatial analysis and spatial analytics are at the very heart of Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise platform. ArcGIS provides contextual tools for mapping and spatial reasoning so you can make the most informed decisions. ArcGIS creates greater understanding, allowing users to quickly see where things are happening and how information is connected, including such things as:

Identifying Location: Where are customers located within the service area? Where are my repair crews? Understanding where is about putting the location of your service area in context. This includes spatially referencing your data, displaying this information on a map, and symbolizing the data in ways that can help staff visualize and understand the data they need to get their job done.

Determining How Facilities and Places Are Related: Which roads are within 100 meters from a transmission corridor? Have other network asset failures occurred at this area? Answering these types of spatial-related questions requires an understanding of relationships of such things as proximity, coincidence, overlaps, and intersections.

Discovering the Best Locations: Whether you’re looking for the best route to plan a system extension, the best corridor to build a new pipeline, or the best location to site a new customer service center, spatial analysis and analytics can help you make more informed decisions about optimal locations and corridors.

Understanding Patterns: Infrastructure owners can study historic patterns based on location to see where customer complaints occurred, and understand where and when future complaints are most likely to happen, enabling them to increase maintenance to those field assets in those areas.

Making Predictions: How will a system failure impact the rest of my network? How many customers will lose service and for how long? Infrastructure owners can analyze spatial, operations, and maintenance data to predict system failures over time and adequately prepare for future capital improvements before additional failures occur.

Improving Data Quality for Better Decision Making and Spatial Analytics

Data is the most strategic asset of an organization. The Data Warehousing Institute reports, “Intellectual capital and know-how are more important assets than physical infrastructure and equipment.”

Unfortunately, most organizations struggle with the accuracy and quality of data underpinning many of their day-to-day decisions. The reason? Bad or incomplete data.

Bad or dirty data refers to information that can be erroneous, incomplete, misleading, and without proper formatting. No organization or department is immune to it when it comes to their business and operational systems and processes. If not acknowledged and fixed early on, bad data can impact all levels of decision making, which comes at a severely high cost to the business. According to a recent estimate from IBM, the yearly cost of poor data quality in the U.S. alone is $3.1 trillion. Poor data quality is of particularly high importance for enterprise decision support systems such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

The use of GIS for spatial analysis and analytics can be of little value, counterproductive and even harmful when based on data that isn’t high quality or complete. The painful truth is that without high quality and complete data, it doesn’t matter how fast or sophisticated the spatial analytics capability is. You simply won’t know the impact that bad data will have on making decisions. Hence the reason why organizations are increasingly focused on developing and implementing data management practices and tools to ensure their data is:

Cleansed: Inaccurate, incomplete, irrelevant, and corrupted records are identified and corrected.

De-duplicated: Duplicate data within each system is deleted.

Synchronized: Common data existing in multiple systems (GIS, ADMS, SCANA, WMS, etc.) is made consistent and kept up to date.

RAMTeCH has been working in conjunction with Esri to develop a comprehensive program of spatial data management services and tools. Our gNet™ Advantage Program is focused on assisting our common clients needing to improve and maintain the quality of their data so they can expand operational capabilities and maximize the value of their spatial data and ArcGIS Enterprise platform.

With gNet, utilities and telecommunication companies can leverage a comprehensive framework for validating and cleaning spatial data and instituting work practices to achieve and maintain data quality.

RAMTeCH’s gNet Advantage Program:

    • Validates the quality of your data and defines the actions for correcting data quality issues
    • Embeds routine checks directly into business workflows
    • Promotes Esri’s new Utility Network & ArcGIS Enterprise platform (Web GIS) capabilities
    • Enables data to be maintained at a high-quality threshold
    • Facilitates organization-wide and system engagement for improving operational capabilities
    • Supports more robust enterprise system integration to support vital operational processes

Discover the power of Esri’s Enterprise ArcGIS platform capabilities, and RAMTeCH’s gNet Advantage Program and data quality tools. Learn more at business-americas@ramtech-corp.com or contact your regional RAMTeCH representative at 651.342.1780.

About the Author
Dave DiSera is the Vice President of Professional Services for RAMTeCH Software Solutions, Inc., based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN office. RAMTeCH provides GIS consulting, data services, and industry leading Esri-based technology solutions for utility, telecommunication, and government organizations.

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